Character Development: Spooky Norse Boy (Player: Rafael)

You know what to do at this point!

Oh and just let me know when you want the name changed.

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Haha. I think I'll leave his name as Spooky Norse Boy. XD

But I was thinking about Cathal macGulla, with a few knowing him as Cathal Gullasson (more norse).

Some background:

Gulli was a norse sorcerer around the 10th century, well-versed in the art of Valgaldrar, which were passed on to him by his father, Throst, who learned from his father, Orrin, who learnt it from Odin (or that's what Orrin said). Gulli was killed in a dishonorable way in Ireland, and there his saga ended.

Fast forward 3 centuries, Cathal is the son of the son of the son... you get it... of Gulli, and the first of the lineage to inherit Valgaldrar. Thanks to that he is capable to see an hear Gulli, and thanks to that Gulli has another shot at the afterlife: he believes that, if Cathal can somhow reanimate his corpse, he will be able to possess his old vessel, and properly "die" in battle this time, fulfilling the requisite to meet the Valkyries.

Cathal Gullasson (or macGulla, in the Irish manner) learned a lot from his great great great... grandfather, including, of course, Valgaldrar. He lives as a corpse-thief, with put him in contact with hedge and hermetic magi alike.

After Cathal was a grown man and his necromancy was developed enough Gulli lead him to the place of his resting body, only to discover that:

  • 1st option: he cannot enter the area where the corpse is anymore: unfortunately the castle Ashenrise currently occupies was constructed on the area, and the Aegis stops Gulli from approaching;
  • 2nd option: we change Ashenrise a little so that instead of magically preserving the body of the previous prima of Merinita they found the corpse of Gulli, and that's their Cathach.

Whatever option we go with, Cathal and Gulli know they won't be able to recover Gulli's corpse alone (in case the corpse is inside the Aegis but is not the cathach, Gulli doesn't think it's proper to request it, Cathal needs to conquer it, or the valkyries will look away). They were making plans to assault Ashenrise, but a handful of years ago several new people arrived, leading Cathal to reevaluate his plans and seek the help from one magus descendant of a norse tradition whom he previously met, a certain Vorsutus. And thus the story begins...

So, here I'd want to make him Plagued by Supernatural (magic ghost of his ancestor). Cathal has already learned everything Gulli could reasonably teach, so from Gulli's point of view Cathal needs to immediately go fulfilling his side of the agreement (there was never an agreement, Gulli just left no other option for Cathal, really). As I imagine Gulli was a ghostly warder while Cathal was growing up, but now he is just a nuisance.

Valgraldar can inquire the corpses for information. This means Cathal is the one you seek when someone dies before revealing a secret. It can also animate them as servants. Cathal does that less, but occasionally he needs protection, so...

I'm thinking about putting him directly against Ashenrise by putting the corpse of Gulli protected by them somehow. Since Ashenrise is supposed to be an important antagonist I'd like to check if this seems reasonable, and what would be the best between the corpse being inside the Aegis (perhaps even below the castle, under the soil) or the corpse being the Cathach. I'm also open to other ideas, of course.

About the corpses:

Rival Magic directs us to RoP:Magic p.97. Given it says a corpse has a MR 9 I think they are talking more specifically about the stats for the Revenant on pg. 98.

The section "Animating Corpses with Magic" on RoP:M p.98 says:

Wizards can animate corpses using Rego Corpus spells (or certain non-Hermetic powers).
Such corpses use the same statistics as a revenant, with the following changes:
It has the No Fatigue and Improved Soak Qualities listed in the character guide, but no other Qualities, Virtues, or powers of its own.
A corpse animated by a spell has no Might score or Confidence score. Its Brawl skill is nominally 3, though as an optional rule the troupe may wish to assign a Brawl score equal to the caster’s Finesse.
Regardless of how the corpse is animated, its unarmed attacks can be blocked by Magic Resistance.


  • The bit on MR 9 from RM overrides the "no Might score" statement, but I think confirmation on the SG's expectation regarding that is adequate.
  • What about confidence? My expectaton is no, but I wanted to double check.
  • About their Brawl, for magi there's the optional rule to use finesse instead of the standard score of 3. Would there be any way to improve the corpses combat ability? Also use finesse? Use Valgaldrar? Some other way?
  • Can the corpses freely wear armor, wield weapons, etc?
  • Can the corpses fight as a trained group? I am thinking of having Cathal fight leading the zombies, so that while he is leading they can fight as trained group, but if he is not leading they fight untrained. Seems ok?

On Muspelli in general:

  • They can use vis to gain a +1 Casting Total per pawn (as long as the flavor of the vis is appropriate to the ability being used). Would this be possible/reasonable, or is it restricted to actual Muspelli?

Strongly into house-rule territory:

  • Valgaldrar utiseta enables other RDT and a guideline to create stronger zombies. Would a virtue to allow access to other RDT by expending vis be too strong? Something like a Boosted (Supernatural Ability)? I'd likely use this mainly to boost Valgaldar to Group (it takes ~15min to animate a corpse this is too much if we need/want an army).
  • As a secondary thought, what about boosting the guideline to create stronger zombies? Like, standard EF to animate is 15, but by expending vis I can make the EF 18 and create stronger undead (assuming I roll well enough to reach that EF).

Anyway these are only stray thoughts.

I'll post a spread of intended Virtues and Flaws later on, with a few toughts behind each one.

On V&F:


Valgaldrar, of course. Spooky Norse Boy manifested the same supernatural talent of Gulli.
Great Communication. Since both Valgaldrar (to animate the corpses) and Leadership (to ask questions/give commands) are based on communication, I really can't see him not taking it. I might very well even double dip, going for a Com 5.
Unnafected by the Gift: both makes him a more suitable companion for Vorsutus (who is blatant Gifted) and for dealing with other Gifted people.
Berserk: the traditional icelandic hero is sorcerer, warrior and poet. Berserk enables martial abilities. And a raging viking necromancer fighting among corpses he raised seems cool as heck.

  • Does raise the question: is he going to be able to lead the zombies, and is it possible to lead a group while raging? If not I might just go with Warrior.

Inspirational: the traditional icelandic hero is sorcerer, warrior and poet. This addresses the poet part. I might instead go for Enchanting Poetry, but I'm not sure yet. Thought about a Wordsmith (as in TCI p.117) with a few poems/stories to boost allies, but that seems to conflict with his corpses, and he can't affect them with standard Wordsmith poems due to their resistance (unless we are ok with Touched by Realm items with penetration?).

Arcane Lore: necessary for Penetration (which will help animate the corpses), also represents experience attained as a corpse-thief. Might give him a score in Craft: Poppets (Grogs, p.103) to enhance his penetration, to make it easier for his animated corpses to bypass MR of targets.


Plagued by Supernatural (Ghost): The ghost of Gulli, his ancestor, who after teaching him a lot about sorcery and necromancy wants him to recover and animate his corpse. Could also put him in other kinds of trouble. Generally not willing to help, but if we want to have him more cooperative I suppose this could be changed into a Magical Friend (Magic version of Faerie Friend?). I'm fine with him being just a nuisance.
Oh, Gulli also periodically requests Cathal to recite/write the saga of his life, his (Gulli's) father or other descendants... basically, Cathal is somewhat an Irish version of Snorri Sturluson (an Icelandic man who supposedly wrote/compiled several text and Icelandic sagas) + necromancy + ghost ancestor.
Avaricious (Major): common viking affliction.
Nocturnal: much of his job is easier to do at night.

Thinking about:

  • Worthless Abilities: it's likely that some of Gulli's teachings are useless.

Looking good to me mate!

I'm not an SG, but here are my thoughts:

While there are some methods that directly control the bodies by magic (e.g. ReCo), there are other methods that provide the corpse with an animating spirit. This is one of those cases. This is why you must speak to them and lead them.

[quote="Rafael Bessoni, post:3, topic:172469, username:RafaelB"]*
What about confidence? My expectaton is no, but I wanted to double check.
I don't feel like revenants are companion-level anyway, so I don't really like any of them having Confidence.

Personally, I like using Finesse for the Brawl Ability. That way stronger necromancers can make stronger walking dead. Besides, you commonly (ReCo) have to both penetrate and make an attack roll, so you've commonly got a penalty, and using Finesse balances this a little. I would still use Finesse here.

I don't see a problem with armor. The problem with most weapons is that the corpses don't have Single/Great Weapon Abilities.

This could make sense to me. They completely obey your orders after all, so as long as you've practiced with them you all should be coordinated well.

I'd have to look into specifics. I'm not sure. It's probably like the Utiseta stuff, though, where it's special to the tradition rather than to the Ability.

I would not do this. This is fundamentally what differentiates the tradition from having the Virtues.

Very reasonable thoughts.

On Finesse, the reason I'm not defaulting to it is because I see it as:

  • a very "hermetic" thing (I don't recall any other virtue or power using it)
  • a more direct control of the magus on the things he animated, and as you said, I see Valgaldrar as something that provides an animating spirit instad.

Using the Valgaldrar score as a substitute for the corpse's Brawl seems reasonable (from a narrative point of view), and not much stronger than using Finesse, but it is making something which is already useful (and core to the character) even more useful. On a first glance however, I don't really see any other option except for Finesse or Valgaldrar.

For weapons, even w/o score in Single/Great weapon, should a corpse be allowed to use one with no score and 3 additional botch die? If so, putting a sword and shield in their hands is better for combat, as long as one is willing to risk the botches. A warhammer would be even better.
But even without going there, the dagger uses Brawl. Should a zombie be allowed to use a dagger to attack?
To me the idea of animating a fallen warrior for it to fight using weapons, but in a clumsy way (represented by no score, 3 extra botch die) seems fine, but I recon this will probably change from person to person.

Well, the tradition does entail more than just utiseta, and a virtue can be restricted to allow a lot less than a tradition.

For the sake of the discussion: in principle, the same final effect (boosting target from Individual to Group) could be achieved through a properly designed MuVi lesser power.